Friday, August 30, 2013

Grand Marshall Papa Leo...

I'm so excited that my Grandpa Leo will be serving as the Grand Marshall for the 94th Round-up here in Lake County this weekend.  As the Grand Marshall he will be riding in the Round-up parade on Monday and will be part of the Grand Entry during the rodeo on both Sunday and Monday afternoons. 
It is a honor that is well deserved.  Not only has my grandpa lived all but 4 of his 88 years here but this year also marks the centennial (100 years) of when his parents homesteaded in this county.  After marrying my Grandma Anna Mae (Mamu) in 1946 they went on to have 9 children, 7 of which still live here.  They also have a total of 72 grandchildren and great-children...1/3 of them still calling Lake County home.  Before raising hay and cattle my grandparents established a tractor business in Lakeview and ran it for 20 years.  
Beyond all of that he is the most amazing and genuine person I know.  Being a grandfather to 72 children is a huge job and yet somehow he makes each and every one of us feel like we are his one and only.  He and my grandmothers marriage has lasted for 67 years and is a true representation of what love should really be like. 
My grandpa is a husband, father, grandfather, friend, role model, mechanic, entrepreneur and dog lover who is kind, generous, loving, smart, supportive and strong.  I realize I may be a little bias but nobody in my opinion could represent Lake County any better than my Grandpa Leo. 
Sweet Papa- 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Midweek Inspiration...

The only person
you should try
to be better than...
is the person you
were yesterday.
I love this!!!  Sweet inspiration-

Monday, August 26, 2013

Brownie Sundae Bar...

You may already know that my Tales had a birthday last week.  As a mom it is crazy how our roles and duties change as we parent.  When my kids were younger I had a theme and party planned weeks (months...if I am being honest) in advance.  There was a guest list, invitations, cake, favors, pinata, and a ton of gifts.  Now that they are teenagers I don't get to do that know...they would be embarrassed!!  It is hard for me to not go there...especially with Pinterest.  Now I just have to sit, pin, and imagine the parties I could throw if only they weren't TEENAGERS!!!  So sad.

Gifts aren't really even fun anymore.  One pair of Miss Me jeans and my budget is pretty much maxed out.  I used to be able to spend $100.00 and get a handful of fun things and now it buys a measly pair of pants (although they are cute).   Nobody even asks what they want anymore...I think it is a given that teenagers want and need money.  Yep...cold hard cash is where it is at and that is just no fun at all.  So sad.

I don't even get to send out those cute invitations that go with the theme and say things like---Party location:  Taylea Pearl's house.  You know what I'm talking about...the one's that were hand written and precious.  Now I just make a few phone calls or face book a handful of people and the invites are taken care of.  They don't even want friends over...just family.  I feel like I need to feed the guests dinner just to entice them to come because lets face it...teenage parties SUCK!!  So sad.

So because I love a good party and obviously I'm sad that I don't get to have them anymore I decided to at least try to make a fun dessert.  These days I take whatever I can get!!  Brownies are always a I decided to add a few yummy ice creams, candies, sprinkles, caramel, chocolate syrup and let the guest create their own master piece.  The best part...I served them in mason jars.  Tell me this...what isn't better in a mason jar?? is a picture of the birthday girl with a "hundie" (slang for $ I'm told)...
Thank you Papa B & Grandma Football!!!
Now on to dessert.  I lined everything up so that each guest could create their own yummy masterpiece...
Mini Oreo's & Sprinkles??  Yes, please...
Tales favorite candies...M&M's & mini PB cups...
The birthday girl combined a bit of everything...
Tater went for all kind of guy...
Hannah was ready to dig in...
The best part about was easy & the guest loved them.  Thank goodness I can still have a little fun. :)  Sweet sundae-

Friday, August 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Tales...

Today is my Tales 14th birthday (insert sad face, followed by happy face).  I always have mixed emotions when my children hit another milestone.  I'm sad because I love them and they are my babies but am happy that they are growing up to be healthy and happy (most of the time) teens.  I also wonder where time is it that she can be 14?  I remember the day I brought her home from the hospital like it was yesterday (insert sad face- again)! 

Life with Taylea is NEVER boring.  She has had me on my toes since she turned two...with no signs of slowing down any.  Her independence is a gift (for her) and curse (for me) all at the same time.  When she smiles it can brighten your day.  She is sensitive and yet strong.  She doesn't know a stranger and can make a friend faster than anyone I have ever known.  She is the life of a party but the first one to bed.  She is everything to me.
She is...  

               Long legged
                            Attached to her phone
I just love this photo of her at the very much represents her free spirit...

She was so excited last September when we got our baby Sage...
I miss this 4 year old mischievous grin...
I can only assume that the smile is because she somehow got her brothers toy...& is sitting on it...
My girl...
Sibling love...haha...not really!!  I most likely had to bribe then to get this close!!
Happy Birthday Taylea, Tales, Pearl Girl, Squirrel, loves you big bunches!!!
Sweet Tales-

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Weightloss Wednesday...

My first weight loss Wednesday post was at the beginning of April...which is almost 5 months ago. To be honest I was hoping at this time I would be at my goal and hit the maintenance mode...but I am not.  I have lost 15 of the 30-35 pounds that I set out to loose.  To me 15 pounds is a hard haven't exactly lost enough weight for it to be noticeable or for your clothes to be falling off of you.  Victory is mostly on the scale.  That is not to say that I am not happy with 15 pounds...I have worked really hard for that number!  My point is that loosing weight is such a hard process.

Staying motivated when progress is slow can be difficult.  Averaging 3 pounds a month isn't anything to write home about.  I was often discouraged and ready to give up.  The one thing I have learned above all else is can not out exercise a bad diet.  To get healthy and loose weight you need to exercise but if you aren't eating right then exercise alone is not going to do it for you.  This has been my biggest struggle and it took me about 4 months to really get it.  At this rate I will have reached my goal by January...I'm hoping it doesn't take that long.

In other news...I only have one month left of training for my half marathon.  Runs will be getting more frequent and longer as each week passes.  I'm glad that softball will be over tonight so that I can concentrate solely on my running.  Playing softball and training has really taken a toll on me.  My muscles haven't gotten the time they need to rest which has left me pretty tired and sore.

Note to self:  Training for a half marathon is hard enough...don't add another physical activity to it!! 

Sweet 15-

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Life Lessons...

I came across this list of 45 Life Lessons that was written by a 90 year old woman and I just couldn't help but share them.  I feel like so much can be learned by those who have already lived a full life.  I absolutely love getting advice from my grandmother because she gives it to you from experience.  When I read through this it really put a lot of things in perspective...I hope it does for you as well.  Enjoy...

1.  Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2.  When in doubt just take the next small step.
3.  Life is too short not to enjoy it.
4.  Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.  Your friends and family will.
5.  Don't buy stuff you don't need.
6.  You don't have to win every argument.  Stay true to yourself.
7.  Cry with someone.  It's more healing than crying along.
8.  It's OK to get angry with God.  He can take it.
9.  Save for things that matter.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life with others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in a blink of an eye...but don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath.  It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful.  Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19.  It's never too late to be happy.  But it's all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21 Burn the candles, use nice sheets, wear fancy lingerie.  Don't save it for a special occasion.  Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now.  Don't wait for an old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive but don't forget.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything.  Give Time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life.  Show up and make the most of it.
36. Growing old beats the alternative-dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you are loved.
39. Get outside every day.  Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time.  Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.
42. The best is yet to come...
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Sweet lessons-

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Capreze Brushcetta

My two little ole' tomato plants are producing like crazy right now.  It seems like one day you have a plant full of green tomatoes and the next they are ripe and ready to pick.  This year I planted only Cherry tomato plants, not because I don't like the larger ones but because the process is quicker and I'm an instant gratification kind of gal.  Most of the time I find myself eating the tomatoes right off of the vine but in the last couple of days I have gotten a bowl full and ready to be ate...I only needed to decide how??
I settled on Brushcetta, which is basically a toasted piece of bread with yummy things on top.  Capreze is always one of my favorite flavor combinations (tomato, mozzarella and basil) and since I have basil growing next to the tomatoes it was a perfect fit.
To make it you will need 1/2 a loaf of French bread, 2 cups of cherry tomatoes (halved), 1 clove of garlic, 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil, 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar, mozzarella cheese, 2 Tablespoons of chopped basil, salt & pepper to taste.

I began by cutting the tomatoes in half...

Then I cut the bread into slices and placed them on cookie sheet.  I then drizzled a little olive oil on each slice of bread, so that they toast up well...
While the bread is toasting in a preheated 375° oven for about 8 minutes I tossed the tomatoes with the basil, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper...

After the bread has toasted I took a whole garlic clove that I had cut in half and rubbed it over the bread...
This is such a great way to get garlic flavor without it being too overpowering.
I then added a slice of mozzarella cheese to each piece of bread and put it back into the oven until the cheese is melted...

Add a heaping tablespoon of the tomato mixture to the top of each piece of bread and serve...
I'm telling you the flavor combination is out of this world.  The crispy bread with the melted cheese and sweet tomatoes can not be beat.  I served it with grilled chicken and dinner was complete.  If you don't grow tomatoes then go and buy them to make will be glad you did.  Sweet tomato-

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Weightloss Thursday...

Last week I wrote about a few things that I have learned about running but I didn't want to stop quite there.  I wanted to give you all a look inside my own personal story because I feel like it is so much more relatable.  So here it is...

I'm not exactly sure of what made me want to run.  I truly think it was a combination of seeing others doing it and wanting to prove something to myself.  I began running during a time in my life when I was loosing control of my seemed so nice to do something that I could control.  It was also a break from life that was just for me.  All I needed was a pair of tennis shoes and determination. 

I took it slow.  I would run the distance between telephone poles and then walk a length until I felt strong enough to run/walk two lengths and so on.  Sometimes it would only be a few days and other times it took longer until I was able to increase my distance.  It was hard!  Most days I wanted to talk myself out of going but there was always a voice inside me that pushed me out the door.  For an entire summer/fall I ran 3 times a week pretty consistently and never made it past 2 miles (I told you I was slow) but I was doing something.

In late fall of that year my marriage ended and I stopped running.  I would walk on a treadmill but I just couldn't find the energy to actually run.  I knew I wanted to run but it wasn't until last spring that I decided I was ready to go for it again.  I set my goal on a 5k and trained for most of the summer.  It felt a little easier this time.  I had to start over with my distance but I had made up my mind...I knew what my body was capable of and so I pushed myself further. 

Last September I finished the race with a time of just over 34 minutes.  It wasn't the fastest time, it wasn't the slowest time but it was my time and I was freaking proud of it.  Following through with my goal of completing a 5k was an amazing feeling.

As this spring approached I had thought about training for a longer race but I never told anyone.  If I didn't go through with it then I didn't want anyone else to know.  For a few months I mulled it over in my mind until finally I decided to go for it and announce it here on the blog.  As I hit the publish button there were parts of me that wished I hadn't posted it.  If I didn't follow through then everyone would know and I would be a failure.  I doubted myself but just like the first time I ran I just kept moving forward.

I found a running program on the Internet that I felt comfortable with and hit the pavement.  I will admit that on days that I have a good run I can actually picture myself hitting the 13 mile marker.  There are also the days when it takes everything I have to finish a run and I worry that I might not be able to make it.  Running is definitely a mental game of which sometimes I win and sometimes I loose.

The feeling of accomplishment at the end of run is unexplainable.  It is something that never thought my body could do but it can and it does.  In the beginning it was the distance of telephone poles and last Friday I ran over 6 miles in just over an hour.  My point isn't to brag (although I am proud of myself) point is that you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to.  I didn't just wake up one day and be able to run 5 was a process.  Challenging yourself to accomplish things (even if you don't think it is possible) is hard but worth it.  Taking yourself outside of your comfort zone is intimidating but rewarding.  Whether it is running or something else for you, I encourage you to go for it.  Sweet run-

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Gender Reveal Party-Part 2

Finally it was the day of the party.  It was a work day which can be a little challenging but because I planned ahead it was simple semi-simple.  I worked hard and got the final food prep done, did last minute cleaning on the house and got everything finished just in time for the guests to arrive.  It was a wonderful evening with an amazing group of women all chomping at the bit to see what the gender of sweet baby Paz would be.  Here is a look at the final details...

The guest of honor and her precious mother...
A look at the desserts...
The cake was complete with a banner that I made from wooden skewer sticks and scrapbook paper...
I displayed the owl pops in an old sewing machine drawer that I put foam into and covered with moss from the Dollar Store...
To make the pops I used a mini tulip cookie cutter and sucker sticks.  I baked the cookies right onto the sticks and decorated them...
Another addition to the desserts were fun sized Hershey Bars that I colored with pink and blue...
Her is a look at what I served for dinner...
Both the Taco Salad and this huge bowl of Chinese Chicken & Spinach Salad were big hits...
The guests were to wear pink or blue depending on what they thought the gender of the baby would be.  To take it a step further I did a chalkboard at the entrance with some old wives tales to let the guests look at and see if they thought their guess was correct...

Finally it was time to cut the cake and let everyone bite into a cupcake to see if it was pink or blue...

And the baby is a...BOY!!  Congratulations Ben and Katy!!  I wish you a lifetime of happiness and joy.  Sweet boy-

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gender Reveal Party-Part 1

One of my dearest friends, Katy is pregnant with her third child and so I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to throw her a party.  I have been wanting to do a gender reveal party for a while and so I was so excited to put it together. The only problem was that I didn't realize how hard it would be to keep the gender a secret for a couple of weeks...people REALLY wanted to know!! 

I began the planning with the theme and invitation.  There wasn't a lot of time to plan because we wanted to be sure that Katy's mom would still be in town to enjoy the celebration. I also needed to plan things that could be done ahead of time because I would be gone the weekend before the party.  I decided to go with an owl theme and keep things simple.  Here is the invite...
From there I moved on to planning the menu and of course started with dessert.  I decided to reveal the sex of the baby with a cake for Katy to cut.  The filling for it being either pink or blue.  I also wanted to make a few sugar cookie pops to bring the owl theme onto the food table.

For the actual food part I asked the guest of honor for some inspiration.  She said anything veggie or fruit, which made it simple.  I decided to serve a large chicken and veggie pasta salad, a taco salad, store bought croissants and a fruit tray. 
To be prepared before I left for the weekend I got as much done as I possibly could.  I baked the cake, cupcakes and owl pops freezing them once cool.  I also grilled the chicken and froze it.  I made sure the house was clean and ready to go.  I set the food table, put up decorations and had my "wives tales" board ready to go.

When I arrived home on Sunday afternoon I made a quick trip to the grocery store.  I frosted the cake, cupcakes and owl pops.  I cooked the pasta, cut the fruit and then crashed.

Tune in tomorrow to see my final prep and how the party turned out.  Sweet reveal-